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November 2004

9 posts from October 2004

Other Marketing Blogs

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Advertising: Madison Avenue Ponders the Potential of Web Logs

Linking again to the NY Times, this article above by Nat Ives, rounds up some interesting blogs for marketing and advertising insights:

Influx Insights from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, CA.

A Fine Kettle of Fish from Yellowfin Direct Marketing in Boston.

Urban Intelligence from Urban Advertising in New York.

And, best of all, Adrants by Steve Hall.

Meme wannabes

The New York Times > Arts > Critic's Notebook: Buzzing the Web on a Meme Machine

In the NY Times article linked above (free for seven days after publishing, free reg. required), Sarah Boxer looks at the continuing excitement about 'memes' or ideas that can spread from mind to mind. Many internet-based promoters hope they can use these 'idea viruses' to increase the popularity of web sites or products.

Seth Godin did an excellent job describing the 'idea virus' long ago, and one of the more appealing things about it is that it really runs on the merit of the idea. Oh, you can lodge an idea in people's minds with a sufficient amount of money or a sufficiently outrageous publicity stunt, but for people to spread your meme for free, it has to be something they value, if even for a moment. It must be fun to be a meme.

Thanks to Tim Manners of Reveries for the sighting.

Manifestos and Poses

Jonathan Adler Manifesto

Webster's Dictionary defines a manifesto as "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer." Since everyone ought to be clear about their purpose, it's a good thing. In the link above, the Jonathan Adler company has a charming manifesto. It makes me want to do business with them. Be sure and look at their innovative two-sided couch as well.

Seeing that manifesto reminded me to check on Seth Godin's god-child, ChangeThis. A direct descedent of the Cluetrain Manifesto, ChangeThis defines manifesto a little differently: "It's an argument, a reasoned, rational call to action, supported by logic and facts."

One of the strongest messages of the Cluetrain Manifesto is that companies should take a position, but never posture. I'm not sure that there isn't some fashionable posing going on over at Jonathan Adler, but it's an attractive pose.

Thanks to Daily Candy for this sighting.

Inventive Moms - The Carriage Trade: Stay-at-Home Moms Get Entrepreneurial

An article this week by Rachel Zimmerman in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), rounds up stories on women who left the corporate world to raise children, only to find their creativity still directed toward the marketplace instead of the home. As one of those women who climbed the walls when I was staying at home with the kids, I think these women provide a very valuable role model, providing a new alternative to just working or just staying at home.

For many women who leave the work force to care for children, motherhood is making invention a necessity. The daily routine of child-care presents such a minefield of little problems that they turn to tinkering, and then market their brainstorms. This month Ms. Monosoff signed a book deal to write a guide for aspiring inventor moms while she runs her company and Web site to promote other mothers' products. This month's featured mom invented the Bellybra, an exercise girdle for pregnancy.

Betty Chin, senior vice president of merchandising at the Right Start, a children's-product retailer in Calabasas, Calif., says the uptick in mom inventions began in the late '90s, when a Colorado English teacher, Julie Aigner-Clark, came out with Baby Einstein videos -- educational tapes for infants and toddlers on fine art, classical music and poetry.

An entire support network is developing that takes some of the pressure to become an entrepreneur off those mothers like me who want to create and participate in the market, but not run a company.

Ms. Caspi now runs Parents of Invention, a company offering licensing deals to parents who have an idea or prototype but don't want to manufacture the product. Her company is selling 11 different items, including a plastic pop-on toilet handle shaped like an alligator or hippo "to encourage flushing," a vibrating nursing pillow that fits overweight women and a key chain that dispenses antibacterial wipes.

Jill Avery-Zuleeg, Michele Free and Carmela Zamora-Robertson met when they worked in the same marketing group at Apple Computer. In the mid-'90s, they all got married and started having children.

These days the women work on the video business three nights a week from 9 until 1. "I'm always tired," Ms. Avery-Zuleeg says.

Well, there's no panacea.

An Impromptu Community

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > At a Click, a Clique of the Uncool

In the NY Times article linked above (registration required), Lynn Harris reports on the viral marketing campaign for a new Miramax book called Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini. Vizzini asked a friend to set up a web site for the book, and together they decided to create an mini-universe of linked web sites which play with the book's subject, the squip--a tiny device you ingest that teaches you how to act cool. Their target is teenagers, and I love the way they get them to think through ideas. Go directly to the fun.

Mr. Vizzini's aim was to create a hook, not a hoax. "When we reply, we don't tell people it's not real in a 'Ha ha, we fooled you' kind of way. We say, 'It's not real, and we're sure you don't need a squip anyway, but we'd love for you to be a part of this,' " he says. "Then it's like, 'Ooh, now I'm on the inside.' That's what gets people interested: flipping from outsider to insider." Mr. Vizzini sends fans squip stickers and T-shirts , and invites them to post on the squip discussion board or add content to squip sites.

One of the participants comments,

"Everyone knows it's marketing, but you're entering this community and meeting these people and getting to submit your own stuff. It engages you in a way that you can actually participate in."

Thanks to Tim Manners of Reveries for this sighting.

Relationship Building vs. Networking

Fast Company | Winning the Relationship Game
In this article we have a deep dive into the reality of business life. In this Fast Company article from the back of the book, David Lidsky interviews verteran business people who understand how challenging it can be to build relationships. Networking is pretty much dismissed.

Finding what motivates people is important, but then you have to develop trust. The best way to do that is to continue to show in a "persistent, predictable, and consistent" way, as [Jerry] Acuff [author of The Relationship Edge in Business] puts it, that you're someone worth having a relationship with. The method that often best lets people know that you're not solely self-interested is to give away good ideas before you've made a deal.

Friendship in business is different than a personal friendship but it still involves respect and reliability. If you are straight with people, they remember if for a long, long time.

Business isn't high school, where snubs fester. As long as there was no reason that you didn't speak with someone over the years, you can restart the connection. "I recently traded emails with Fred Wilson, a VC I had pitched back in 1995, over some things we each had on our blogs," says [Craig] Danuloff [of Pre-Commerce Group]. "He remembered me from back then, and we've reestablished some contact. The maintenance requirements aren't that high."

One-to-One Done Wrong, Done Right

CorporatePR: One-to-One Marketing a False Trail

Elizabeth Albrycht has this insightful post on One-to-One Marketing which she contributed to the Carnival of the Capitalists, a sort of traveling spontaneous online business publication (more about that later).

The most damning thing she says about "one-to-one" marketing is that it never creates trust because consumers know it's just a mail-merge technique. If a consumer receives a personalized email from a large corporation, he or she can't hit reply--there's nobody there. That's certainly the predominant "bastardization" which can happen to "one-to-one."

The point of her article is that a blog written by an individual on behalf of the company can be much more authentic. And I agree that it has certainly been the case, especially with that guy from Microsoft.

However, "one-to-one" marketing can happen much differently for companies that are small and also with companies which are more business-to-business oriented. Last week I saw a presentation by Chris Baggott of ExactTarget email solutions. The weekly corporate emails personalized by his marketing department are set up to include the photo of each customer's sales representative, who may have the marketing department include a message for the accounts (not quite one-to-one, but authentic). And finally, if you hit reply--that's right--it goes straight to your company representative. And I like having someone at the company who represents me.